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14 Lessons I Learnt from 14 Months of Blogging

blogging lessons from 14 months of bloggingI was just flashing back and I noticed that it’s been a little over 14 months that I started this blog. I could remember myself being a little confused and afraid when I started. Even though I used to be bold and certain of my future I still would have done better if I had someone give me the advice I’m about to give in this post when I started.

I recently got an email from Danny Iny asking me to contribute to a question along the same lines and the email ignited the fire in me and you can see this post as a getting started guide for a new blogger. If I were to start again as a blogger, what would I do differently? Below are 14 great lessons I learnt from blogging in the past 14 months and I hope you also can learn a great deal from them.

1. Your Design Matters – It Defines Your Brand

I started blogging with a free website theme but I kept on changing my design every week because I wasn’t satisfied with it, and every time I changed my design I announced it on the blog and then apologize to my readers. This process went on for some time and it eventually ended up pissing off some of my readers. I eventually learnt that there is no amount of free website template that can be as robust as a premium template so I invested in buying the thesis wordpress theme and eventually changed to my own custom design when I began to make enough money.

Your design is a part of your brand and your brand determines the success of your business. As a new blogger you might not necessarily have thousands of dollars to spend on your blog design but there are several great wordpress themes like the Thesis Theme and Elegant Themes that are been sold for a few bucks. Implementing some of these designs on your blog can result in a significant traffic boost for your blog.

2. Your Email List is Your Most Important Asset

email marketingAfter conducting an experiment I have discovered that with an email list you are five times more likely to make a product sale compared to a blog when exposed to the same amount of readers.

A lot of bloggers believe having a very successful high traffic blog is the key to making more money as a blogger but the reality is that your email list is your most important asset. The reason for this is that people have to see your message several times before it is registered in their mind, and with an email list and the right email marketing system you can easily achieve this and get more traffic to your blog while making money at the same time.

P.S. If you want to triple your email subscription rate in less than half the time, make sure you check the Viral List Plugin.

3. Procrastination is Very Sneaky – It Isn’t Your Best Friend Either

You might not like to hear it or accept it but the reason for the failure of so many bloggers is procrastination.

I have written a lot of blog posts on this blog and guest posts on other blogs and I have often come across comments from readers telling me that the post isn’t unique or that they couldn’t find any new point. You better face the truth right now because there is nothing new under the sun so instead of looking for the next new shiny blogging success formula, why not start taking action based on the one you know henceforth?

4. Don’t be Afraid of Your Competition, be Unique in Your Own Way and Success Will Come

competition - don't be afraidObserving your competition is dangerous, copying them is deadly.

I used to be someone who is used to taking a look at other blogs in my niche to see what they’re doing so that I can copy one or two things from them and then implement it on my blog, but it only took so long for me to realize that I was on the road to killing my blog.

A is different from B and no amount of comparison will ever make A B or B A. That’s the fact, and you have to face it, NOW!

Instead of copying your competitors or observing what they’re doing that you’re not why not focus your efforts on being the best you possibly can? Your readers are looking forward to read and learn from you, they don’t just want a rehash of what they have seen in other places. You are unique, don’t try to be someone else!

5. Try to be as Specific as Possible With What You Blog About

I made this mistake for a long period of time and I didn’t correct it until recently.

The mistake I made was trying to blog about business and entrepreneurship and blogging and making money online at the same time. The truth is while all these topics are closely related they are all different topics on their own and in most days I will be thinking about how to write articles on entrepreneurship so that I can satisfy my entrepreneurial readers but little did I know that I was making a huge mistake that is affecting me and preventing me from delivering the best in me.

Trying to write on as many topics as possible while at the same time wanting to be an expert will only tear you apart. Focus on choosing only one topic, and then do your best to be the ultimate as far as that topic is concerned.

6. Content Alone is Not Enough, Neither is Marketing

I always knew content is king but I have both overestimated and underestimated marketing.

If you want to build a successful blog you have to realize that writing great content alone is not enough to build a successful blog and that the same thing goes for marketing. I had to learn this the hard way by writing tons of great guest posts that will bring about an influx of traffic but won’t stick. I also tried to write great content but did little to promote it and at the end it was very clear to me that I have been on the same page for a long period of time.

I now have a great formula that is helping almost every post I write achieve thousands of views. That simple formula is Write Great Content >> Send it to Your List >> Expect the Traffic to Come. Believe me, it works wonders and even though I hardly write guest posts nowadays, my traffic is increasing continually.

Do your best to give the best content you can and market it as if your life depends on it (to some of us, it does!).

7. A Single Well Planned Traffic Generation Technique is Better than 100

lots of trafficI still find it difficult to believe that after writing great blog posts on how to get traffic to a blog some people still complain that they need more tactics or that the ones I listed isn’t enough.

When it comes to being successful as a blogger, you don’t need 100 techniques to succeed, you only need one carefully selected and carefully planned tactic. I presently have two well-planned traffic generation tactic at the moment, the foundational tactic is writing guest posts for other blogs and the new tactic is emailing my new blog posts to my list. Both tactics are very simple, but they bring great results and the sky is the only limit if you could master them.

Stop looking for ways to get traffic, start focusing on implementing the ones you have.

8. Search Engines Provide the Best form of Traffic

Even though this form of traffic isn’t automatic at first and can take months or years of hard work to achieve, you will discover it is the best on the long run.

I’ve been spending my time and efforts lately on increasing the search engine traffic to this blog because it has been the only consistent and most effective traffic source on the long run. If you take a look at the traffic to this blog around 8 months ago it was traffic from guest posts that was dominating. Now, it is traffic from search engines because even though the traffic I was getting from search engines then was minimal, it has kept on increasing and it will keep on increasing for years to come even if I don’t lift a finger.

If you want your traffic to crumble as soon as you stop updating your blog you can neglect search engine traffic but if you want more traffic to your blog irrespective of you not updating your blog or how often you update your blog make search engines your best friend.

9. The More Successful You Are, The More People are Likely to Disagree with You – Embrace Criticism, Don’t Dwell on It

strong criticismI’m a positive person but I find myself going down and feeling discouraged at some point. In fact, I keep on considering some my actions and I keep asking myself if I should stop doing what I’m doing or I should improve on it. There is one reason for this, CRITICS!

You might not like the sound of it but critics are your best friend because they help ensure you’re careful of your actions. As much as I hate critics, I wouldn’t deny the fact that criticism is one of the building blocks to the success of this blog. Even though I’m not above criticism, I’m trying my best to deal with it and I also ensure I do things in a way that very few people will have a reason to criticize my actions.

If you want to succeed as a blogger PLEASE don’t dwell on criticism, EMBRACE IT! It can be your best friend and it can also be your worst enemy, it depends on how you deal with it!

10. The Amount of Traffic You Get is Not Really Synonymous to How Successful You are or How Much Money You Will Make

This blog is a testament to that.

It all depends on your approach to things. Instead of obsessing over getting a million visitors to your blog monthly why not focus on getting the best from the few thousands you’re getting.

Traffic is the building block of a successful online business but you have to realize that it isn’t the only thing that determines the success of an online business. Several other factors have a say, some of which are copywriting, split testing and customer support.

Don’t only try to get more traffic, always do your best to maximize it!

11. More Blog Posts Don’t Necessarily Mean More Traffic

less is moreSome of the blog posts I wrote on this blog have only been viewed a few hundred times, and I have blog posts that have been viewed by thousands of people – I also have a blog post that was viewed by over 2,000 people the day it went live so writing successful blog posts that attract visitors isn’t only about the numbers, it is about learning how to craft blog posts that bring traffic.

Most of my blog posts are bringing in more than average views nowadays not because of the frequency at which I post them but because they are what people want to read.

One secret I have learnt about writing winning blog posts is to observe your most successful blog posts and be writing your blog posts using the same approach with which they are written. By this I’m not trying to say you should be repeating the same posts over and over again on your blog, all I’m saying is to look for what works with your audience and use it to decide what to write and what not to.

12. Guest Blogging is the Single Most Important Marketing Tactic for Bloggers

Why? Because guest blogging isn’t a two edged sword, it is a multiple edged sword.

With guest blogging you can kill 5 birds with one stone.

With guest blogging you can easily build links, get traffic, get subscribers, create awareness for your brand and also network with other bloggers. It is better said that guest blogging is like a means to an end so make the best use of it.

If you’re guest blogging because of the traffic then select the blogs you write for carefully and if you’re guest blogging for the links focus on writing for as many quality blogs as possible while at the same time making the best use of your anchor texts.

13. The More Personal a Blog Post is, the More Chances it has for Success

When trying to write a blog post I take a lot of things into consideration, but one of the most important things I always try to do is ensure as many people as possible get to read my post. This has led me to analyze my blog and I have noticed that the most successful blogs posts I have ever written are my most personal posts.

People are always interested in knowing as much as they can about others, and even though a lot of people might never admit to this they will never be satisfied with what they know about you. That’s why people want to know how much I earn. That’s why people want to know how much traffic I get. That’s why people want to know who my clients are etc. In most cases, these people won’t necessarily take action based on what they know about you, and in some cases they will be inspired by your story but as a blogger you need to learn how to use this situation to your advantage.

Always write personal posts that can convey lessons to your readers. This could be case studies about your blog and how you’re achieving success and it could also be your story on how you went from poverty to limelight. As long as it has lessons to convey, people will be happy to read it and spread the word about it.

There is only one reason why personal posts will always be successful, and that reason is that stories move people, and no matter how much they try, they can NEVER avoid reading stories.

14. Build a Social Media Presence from Day 1

social media interactionIt took long before I created a Facebook fan page and the funny thing is that Facebook now sends close to 1,000 visitors to this blog every month.

Don’t delay building your social media presence because the faster you start building it the better.

Be on Facebook. Be on Twitter. Be everywhere your readers are.

You should realize that we’re in a ever-evolving world where things are never stable and where there are always new trends. The present trend now is social media, it is a currency, it is a planet, it is now an integral part of today’s world. Embrace it and take your blogging to the next level!

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Category: blogging, youngprepro

72 Comments on "14 Lessons I Learnt from 14 Months of Blogging"

  1. Tikyd says:

    Thanks for all these tips. Your tip about the quantity of traffic grabbed my attention. Would you say that if a site has originally a 1 percent conversion, having a lot more traffic does not guarantee the same conversion?

    • Onibalusi says:

      If a site has a 1 percent conversion rate having a lot more traffic guarantees the same conversion but my suggestion above is that the conversion can be improved to around 10 percent instead.

      • Alex says:

        Now that is THE point everyone needs to listen to. Of course the whole post talks about HOW to do that so go back and read it!

        Brilliant Oni, when I saw who wrote this I knew it would be jam packed full of value.
        Lucky the teacher didn’t actually look like that! Otherwise I’d never have been able to concentrate! πŸ˜‰

  2. Gina says:

    You are simply awesome!

    • Onibalusi says:

      Thanks!

  3. kuldeep says:

    no words to say , but i will try

    really awesome
    one thing i really like quality is important more than quantity we need to be frank with our reader to getting good conversations

    • Onibalusi says:

      Exactly Kuldeep! Quality trumps quantity and it is the only way to keep on getting consistent results as a blogger.

    • Esha Putra says:

      Yeah right!
      Quality is a way much more important than quantity…
      i love the 14 lessons above..
      thanks for sharing it…
      Regards.

  4. Olufemi says:

    I have been your subscriber since february this year and I have enjoy all your post. I want to ask you if I can post some of your articles on my site for my readers.

    I really want to be like you bro.
    Expecting your reply soon
    Bye

    • Onibalusi says:

      Hi Olufemi,

      Feel free to post an excerpt on your blog and then link to the full article here so that your readers can come over here to read it.

    • Roy C.Chukwu says:

      This articles should not be on your blog already!

  5. Nico says:

    Hi Oni, I agree, this post is very intersting stuff for beginning bloggers. Blogging seems so easy, but there so many things you have to think about, you have to learn about, and you have to do!

    • Onibalusi says:

      Thanks Nico!

  6. I was really glad and enlightened reading this post, thank you. However, I will like you to clarify something for in one of your tips. You said in tip 8 that: ‘…if you want more traffic to your blog irrespective of you not updating your blog…make search engines your best friend.’ I will like to ask; how do you make the search engine work for you when you don’t update your blog with posts? Can you keep improving the way search brings traffic to your blog without writing anything new? Thanks.

    • Onibalusi says:

      Hey Joseph,

      I’m glad you loved the post.

      I’m not actually encouraging you not to update your blog regularly, in fact, the more you update your blog the better. All I’m trying to say is that maintaining traffic to a blog requires you writing great content constantly but with SEO, the fact that you write less content won’t lead to a reduction in your traffic.

  7. Roy C.Chukwu says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I have learnt from it.

    Hope to get more like this one.

    Cheers!

    • Onibalusi says:

      I’m really glad you loved it Roy πŸ™‚

  8. Tom says:

    I have a hard time focusing my blog since there are several areas I try to focus on. I’m working to limit straying to other areas to focus on my topic. Thx for the reminder.

    • Onibalusi says:

      I’m glad this is a timely article for you. Let me know how everything goes πŸ™‚

  9. Point 6 have struck me and may I add few points on why Content Alone is Not Enough and how it can be a failure? It’s all about writing from the needed perspective and knowing what to focus.

    Crafting a great is fundamental and is definitely a must. However when the topic has been geared to base on what β€œwe think” we fail to take another point of view into consideration. Also, if the content was focused to cater to multiple points of view we tend to think that gaining readership would be phenomenal but the fact is, the exact opposite happens.

    • Onibalusi says:

      You’re right Ramcel. Your content is the most important element and it should focus mostly on your readers instead of you.

  10. Lian says:

    This is a fantastic post with many good tips. Thanks for sharing so honestly. I have to make many improvements but change is difficult. However, if I don’t make the changes, I will not get different results. I need to be more focused, like what you said. Blogging about too wide a topic can be tiring.

    • Onibalusi says:

      You’re right about blogging being to wide. You shouldn’t have any problems as long as your main focus is your readers.

  11. sepatu bordir says:

    thank for the inspiring article, i really enjoy it πŸ™‚

  12. Flo | Create Your Own Website says:

    No 4 is a good reminder that we should not try to be like other more successful site owners as this decreases our chances of being seen in an already saturated environment.

    Great 14 points worthy of note.

  13. Jake says:

    You breathing fire with your post ONI, what’s got into you? Good to see you getting back to your roots.

    • Onibalusi says:

      Aha Jake,

      I’m really glad you loved it.

      Thanks so much for the awesome comment!

  14. Nasrul Hanis says:

    I agree with your point especially focusing on the implementations and not just looking and keep looking for ways. Implement first and then evaluate what you have done.

    Rather than wasting your time on searching the things that you don’t even implement, start to act now!

    • Onibalusi says:

      There is no point in reading a million points if you aren’t going to implement any.

  15. RTO says:

    This is a cheat sheet that I’d be referring to as I start my new blog. I particularly agree with no.3 -procrastination. In fact, I realize that it has been my worst enemy because I have not been able to start anything concrete all this while majorly because of it. Thanks for an beautiful post.

    • Onibalusi says:

      Procrastination used to be my worst enemy too, and it still is. I think there’s a lot we all need to learn and do.

  16. This is a great writing. I learned a lot and I agree with originality. I think that is the most important thing you can do when writing a blog. Is if you are writing about making money. Select one method of making money and be an expert on that one subject instead of telling twenty different ways to make money on a blog. Thanks

    • Onibalusi says:

      You’re right Mitch! Specialization is key!

  17. Pst.Bless says:

    Thank you very much for this teaching here, i am impressed. more grace upon you.

  18. Pst.Bless says:

    More grace man. go on, the sky is opened for you

  19. Sonia says:

    Well written post with such clarity and direction. This is certainly a road-map and compass relating to where one should start. just like an original textbook that set the stage. Great job!

  20. Neeraj Rawat says:

    Niceones will save a loads of time for many newbies and others too

  21. Chicago Video Production says:

    Hi Oni,

    Wow 14 months and you’ve already made your way to the top! I didn’t expect that it was just over a year ago that you started it. You’ve learned a lot, too, and thanks for sharing it with us.

  22. Hi Oni,

    That is a very good list of things you have learned. I bet you have learned all these the hard way. I agree with everything you say and I strongly support your saying about guest posts. Yup it is indeed a multi edged sword.

    But I don’t what you are saying about procrastination here. I could not link that to you getting comments from people that don’t learn anything new from your posts *confused* πŸ™‚

    Cheers,
    Jane.

  23. Download Online Movies says:

    14 lessons in 14 months!!! dont you think you was a little bit slow??? don’t mind i was just joking nice learning if you have learnt all these thing only in 14 months you have learnt a lot its very nice!!!

  24. sarah says:

    Thanks for sharing your advice and experiences. I like your advice on not letting negative comments get you down, it’s so true. Keep up the good work!

  25. Relationship Epert says:

    This is a very nice post, it is loaded with quality of information. I won’t wast time any longer because i need result.Thanks very much oni.

    Thanks

  26. Jonathan says:

    It’s hard work. After 12 months of blogging and not going anywhere – I’ve finally done enough research to get things going.

    I’m talking researching other blogs, yours (about guest blogging), smart passive income, etc., etc.,

    In these past two months I’ve built more followers, fan base, and hits – then in the 12 months combined.

    Thanks Man. Blogging is tough. But this helps a **** ton.

  27. Extreme John says:

    For me, the no. 6 and 7 lessons are excellent. Content alone is indeed not enough. A great, well-written post will be a trash if it is not justified with promotions. It’s just like a soldier going into a war feeling prepared but lacks all the necessary tools for the great battle. But having a complete paraphernalia for battle is still not enough without a carefully planned strategy. This is where the no. 7 lesson comes: A Single Well Planned Traffic Generation Technique is Better than 100. I must say bloggers must learn all these lessons you’ve shared by heart.

    Awesome post by the way. πŸ™‚

  28. rod says:

    hey you are a good blogger. keep up the good work.

  29. Kristi Hines says:

    Great lessons learned! Although I will add to not put your traffic eggs all in the search engine basket. You never know when Google will change their algorithm and the next cute cuddly bear update will destroy your traffic. Be the search engines friend, but also diversify so you know you can ramp up your social media or other efforts in the event of a Google-related emergency!

  30. Vijay says:

    That’s great list Oni.
    Now I know how guest posting is important.

    Do you have list of blogs where you posted your guest article. Also how you suggest approaching for guest posting?

  31. Alex Humphrey says:

    Really good tips. My favorite one was staying focused. Find a few ways to bring traffic to the site and focus completely on them.

    It’s easy to get torn into a thousand differing ideas. Focusing on one or two is definitely the way to go.

  32. Prajwal Shinde says:

    Great List Oni. Excellent 14 lessons. Each lesson speaks for itself. I strongly agree with the point “A Single Well Planned Traffic Generation Technique is Better than 100”. Focusing on a particular traffic generation strategy, learning and implementing it in the right way is very important to get quality, targeted traffic. I am currently focused on one strategy as well. Lets see how it works for me.

    Once again great post Oni.

  33. Fisayo says:

    I like your 7th point. We need to be reminded of this occasionally. The problem is that it is easy get distracted once we see something new someone doing to generate huge traffic.

    I just watched Paul Lynch’s video of visitorsdotcom and I was already flowing through it and signed up to Flippa before I realized I have spent some time on it. Then I asked myself if I would be ready to let one more method distract me from the old one I took time to decide upon.

    That’s what many of us do that we don’t see result of our existing techniques. We don’t give it enough shots before we move to the next ‘big’ thing.

    In no time someone will come with another cool and working traffic method and internet marketers will get distracted from the old thing again.

  34. best website hosting says:

    I feel that, email address, design and quality contents are very much important for blogging. I think that, you learnt many information about blogging in 14 days. It is nice to hear.

  35. Edgar says:

    I would like to add “taking action”. With all the information overload we’re having these days, i think spending less time reading and a lot more time implementing what you’ve read is the best way to blogging success. Thanks for the great lessons

  36. sokun says:

    Excellent post again, especially with regards to competition. I hate observing competitors and prefer just doing my best as i know how. Every person is unique, so is every blog

  37. vp ahmed says:

    Awesome. Very informative

  38. Eddie Gear says:

    Onibalusi, this is an awesome post. its good that you have realized them and have implemented them at such an early stage. I’ve embarked on a great journey into the blogosphere with some massive back from some friends who are bloggers around the globe. With professional tools I am sure that I will be successful online.

  39. Guest blogging is ver important in addition to every other point you had made. πŸ™‚ Very helpful, too. I had never taken into consideration that constant theme changes may annoy readers…now I do.

  40. Technology Blog says:

    @Gabriella. Changing your website theme can annoy your website readers. It has happened to me of recent when I changed my theme twice within 3 weeks and I notice slight decrease in my website traffic…going down from 2k visits a day back to 4oo and lower back to below hundred.

    Thanks for your awesome comments.

  41. business logo design says:

    No words to say , but i will try

    really awesome
    one thing i really like quality is important more than quantity we need to be frank with our reader to getting good conversations

  42. teatree says:

    OK, I’m going off topic, but the first thing I noticed when I landed on this article was that you have five +1’s! How did you manage that? I think you are the one of the few bloggers I’ve seen who has them.

    I’ve been putting them all over my sites, but no one is clicking. I’m not sure my readers (in ordinary commercial niches) know what they are. Can you do a post on how to get people to click that button?

  43. Benny says:

    Great lessons here. As a new blogger moving forwards these tips will definitely help me out.

    • Onibalusi says:

      I’m really glad you loved them Ben! Thanks a lot for the awesome comment πŸ™‚

  44. James | brochure printing says:

    Very helpful information. Will put it to good use.

  45. Nobody can understand most of all what Oni is trying to put into our character when it comes to succeeding online with blogging unless they read this 2-3 times. The first I read it, it was just like what i have been reading from him before but I later read it today and I understand perfectly how to make use of most of his trials and errors to achieve success while blogging.

    Thanks Oni, for this πŸ™‚

  46. abrablog says:

    depend with what kind of blog we run. For certain blog, more post, means more traffic. πŸ™‚

  47. Your blog design truly defines what your blog is about. This is one of the factors why your readers keep coming back to your blog. So you really have to give importance for your design.

  48. Tina @ wedding favors says:

    I am not sure if the more personal you are sharing the more success you get with blogging. Well it might depend on what personal things are you sharing your blog into. In your case your personal touch has to do with your job, Oni so I guess that really made the difference.

  49. Jill @ Yamaha Insurance says:

    Hi Oni,

    This is very inspiring! In just a more than a year you have already won so many subscribers and build a distinguishing mark in the internet. Congratulations! And thanks for this wonderful tips, keep it up πŸ™‚

  50. Quality content, interesting topic and nice lay-out are the key factors to make your blog page successful, impressive and gain lots of visitors.

  51. I often do procrastination that I found out last month that my page rank decreases because I haven’t updated my blogs since last year. I hope it is not yet the end for me to update my blogs and get my page rank back.

  52. SEO Jobs says:

    Great list. Need these points to keep afloat in the internet marketing arena. Thanks for the share.

  53. Sonia says:

    As usual, Great posts with such profound and professional approach. I certainly enjoy reading your posts based on the fact that you have integrated such quality into it. Thanks again!

    • Onibalusi says:

      Thanks Sonia!

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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